The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the No. 19 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but they shouldn’t spend it on Texas running back Bijan Robinson.
Unlike the last few years in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers are coming into the offseason with plenty of needs, making the upcoming NFL Draft more important than it has been in a while.
With Tom Brady finally calling it quits, it becomes more important than ever to secure young stars to carry the torch into a new era of Bucs football.
One of the more common predictions for who the Bucs will select with the No. 19 pick in this year’s NFL Draft is Texas Longhorns superstar running back Bijan Robinson. But a pick like that carries plenty of risks, despite Robinson’s seemingly NFL-ready skillset.
The first case to be made against Bijan Robinson being picked at #19 is the age-old saying, “don’t take a running back in the first round”. Such is the mantra of many a sports analyst and pundit. They hinge this belief on a few concrete beliefs, the first of which is the diminishing importance of the running back position.
Buccaneers draft rumors: The case against drafting Bijan Robinson
As the game of football evolves the NFL has become increasingly pass-heavy, meaning that the effect of a dominant runner is less important to team success than it has been.
Taking a look at the recent history of Super Bowl winners and their lead rushers in the big game backs this assertion up.
- 2023 Chiefs: Isiah Pacheco (season totals – 830 yards, 5 TDs)
- 2022 Rams: Cam Akers (786 yards, 7 TDs)
- 2021 Buccaneers: Leonard Fournette (367 yards, 6 TDs)
- 2020 Chiefs: Damien Williams (498 yards, 5 TDs)
- 2019 Patriots: Sony Michel (931, 5 TDs)
The trend is clear. None of these backs are mentioned amongst the upper tiers of NFL RBs. None of them even had particularly impressive seasons in the year they won their ring; notice that there are zero 1000 yard rushers in this group. The presence of an excellent running back is not a needed element for a team to be successful.
The second reason for the rapidly-growing movement against Round 1 RBs is simpler – longevity. It’s no secret that running backs have a shorter playing window than most other positions (if not all). This means that not only is the total time spent contributing on a football field greater for non-RBs, the window during which a player is at their peak also increases. And even if a back avoids injuries through their career, the natural wear of playing such a contact-heavy position means that durability and explosiveness become a concern early.
With draft capital as valuable as a first round pick, it is easy to balk at the idea that drafting a non-RB will often lead to several more years of sustained peak production from that player than a RB would provide. And it’s a factor that has to be considered as the Bucs coaching staff readies themselves for what to do with the No. 19 pick in just under two months.